Our children’s health is not negotiable. This is the message we need to send federal officials — loud and clear — as President Obama’s EPA takes final comments on their proposal to withdraw almost all remaining uses of the brain-harming insecticide chlorpyrifos.
Ag ban long overdue
It’s already taken much too long for the agency to do the right thing. Way back in 2001, science indicating that chlorpyrifos harms children’s developing nervous system was strong enough to warrant agency action to ban all household uses of the chemical.
Since then, the science has only gotten more clear, with study after study linking prenatal and early childhood exposure with neurodevelopmental harms — including reduced IQ levels, learning disabilities and increased risk of autism. Yet thousands of pounds of chlorpyrifos continued to be applied in agricultural fields every year, due in large part to an industry-funded public relations campaign and direct pressure on regulators from the chemical’s primary manufacturer, Dow Chemical.
A 2007 lawsuit, driven by PAN and our partners, finally resulted in a court-ordered deadline directing the agency to take action to protect children and workers from this brain-harming chemical. Calling EPA’s years of inaction in the face of compelling science on neurotoxicity an “egregious delay,” a judge ordered the agency to act by October, 2015. EPA met this deadline with an inital proposal to phase out almost all remaining uses of chlorpyrifos by the end of 2016.
Unfortunately, the original deadline of December 2016 was pushed out to March 2017.
Corporate pressure ramps up
Given the emerging corporate-friendly political landscape, the pesticide industry is now ramping up efforts to block EPA’s action altogether, putting the long overdue ban of chlorpyrifos at risk.
PAN and our partners are pushing back, hard. The more organizations and individuals that voice support for EPA’s proposed action to withdraw agricultural uses of this brain-harming pesticide, the more politically difficult it will be for the incoming administration to set the decision aside.